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Medicare reform should be market-based

Date published: 4/17/2014

I am responding to Howard Owen's April 12 column ["If we choose to pay less, we'll be getting less"].

Mr. Owen refers specifically to Medicare. Rapidly rising Medicare spending is a major cause of the federal government's budget problems.

Proposals to reform Medicare and slow its spending fall into one of two categories: more government micromanagement or mismanagement, or empowerment of health care consumers in a functioning marketplace.

Those who promote top-down spending controls optimistically assume that federal regulators can now accomplish something that has eluded Medicare's administrators for more than 40 years.

In contrast, the market-based approach to reform would harness the power of financial incentives to encourage health care consumers to choose the best, most efficient means of getting services and would reward providers for finding ways to deliver more for less.

Based on the federal government's performance and inability to curtail rampant waste and fraud, I'm perfectly willing to let our elected legislators of the commonwealth continue steering the financial ship.

Personally, I have never minded paying my fair share, but would prefer more control over the monies collected and spent on my behalf to help the unfortunate.

I have far more confidence in my church, local faith-based organizations and nonprofits to use my hard-earned money fairly and wisely.

Deneen Bernard